PHOENIX – Phoenix police arrested a 36-year-old nurse at Hacienda HealthCare facility, alleging he sexually assaulted and impregnated an incapacitated woman at the center.
“From the minute we first became aware of the crime, we have virtually worked non stop seven days a week to resolve this case,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said in announcing the arrest Wednesday morning.
The 29-year-old woman gave birth to a boy in December.
Williams joined Mayor Thelda Williams at Phoenix police headquarters for an update on the case.
Nathan Sutherland was a licensed practical nurse who was responsible for caring for the victim, according to police.
The Phoenix Police crime lab on Tuesday determined a DNA sample taken from Sutherland matched the baby. He was then taken into custody.
Sutherland was booked into Maricopa County Jail, charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.
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Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said they are still working to determine whether Sutherland assaulted other victims inside the facility.
He declined to answer investigator’s questions after his arrest.
The woman gave birth to a boy Dec. 29. Staff members told a 911 operator that they had not known she was pregnant.
According to court records, the woman, who is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, has been a patient at Hacienda for 26 years. The records say the woman is “not alert” and needs a “maximum level of care.”
In the weeks since the 911 call calling for help after the child’s birth, police and state agencies have launched investigations and the director of the facility resigned. Investigators obtained DNA from male workers at the facility.
Hacienda HealthCare also hired former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley to conduct an independent investigation into patient safety.
Two physicians responsible for caring for the woman no longer are providing services at the Phoenix nursing facility.
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